Tin Goose flying over skies of the north coast

Ford Tri-Motor rides available at the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport.
Alissa Widman Neese
Sep 12, 2013

It doesn’t take off at top speeds. 

It can’t transport a multitude of passengers across the country. The authentic 1929 Ford Tri-Motor airplane landing in Port Clinton this weekend may not offer the impressive statistics of today’s modern aircrafts, but the nine-passenger aircraft does offer some perks of its own, according to a local expert.   

Read a first-person account of a Tin Goose ride in Friday's Register

“Everyone has a window seat and everyone has an aisle seat,” said Doug Moore, chief mechanic   of the Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation’s restoration project in Port Clinton. “You can even book the whole plane and take a flight as a group if you can find enough people.”    Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport will host the historical plane today through Sunday, offering local patrons 20-minute flights, at $75 apiece, over Lake Erie and the Sandusky area.   

Nicknamed the “Tin Goose,” the Ford Tri-Motor is one of only a handful of its kind still in the air, Moore said. Ford Motor Co. manufactured the airplanes until 1933, making them one of the world’s first mass-produced airliners. They’re about 50 feet long with a wingspan of about 75 feet, and they typically fly at about 90 mph.   

Locally, the planes were a staple of Lake Erie Island life in the mid-1900s, carrying passengers and mail to and from Port Clinton all year long, especially during cold winter   months when ferries weren’t operating.   

The Air Zoo of Kalamazoo, Mich., owns the Ford Tri-Motor flying in Port Clinton, the most frequent stop on its nationwide tour, Moore said. “Because of the Ford Tri-Motor history in the area, more people want to ride here than at any other place,” Moore said. “We like to bring the history of flying to people and especially the history of the Ford Tri-Motor, because it’s such an important part of aviation. Every major airline started with one.”  

Want to go?

• WHAT: Flight on 1929 Ford Tri-Motor airplane   
• WHEN: 2-5 p.m. today; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday   
• WHERE: Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport, 3255 E. State Road, Port Clinton   
COST: $75 per adult ($70 if booked in advance), $50 per child 17 and younger   
MORE: To book your flight or for more information, go to flytheford.org or call 1-877-952-5395.